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Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Pacific Islander History & Heritage Month

Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month - Virtual Library Display

Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month (also known as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month) is a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island). Celebrated in May, it commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese to the US on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, as the majority of the workers were Chinese immigrants. It also celebrates the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US.

Famous People in Asian Pacific Islander History

Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) was a Chinese-American writer and activist. She discovered the power of grassroots movements as a young woman and was inspired to work for many causes, among them racial equality and women's rights. She received her Ph.D. in 1940 but was unable to secure a job due to her gender and race. Full bio

 

Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla

Her family's legacy was one of triumph over tragedy, and for Kalpana Chawla, the dream of adding to her family's legacy materialized when she went became the first Indian woman to go up in space in 1997. On February 1, 2003, as a member of the ill-fated Columbia shuttle crew, Chawla would be honored for a life she lived too briefly--but during which she realized spectacular achievements against great odds. Full bio

Ang Lee

Ang Lee

Long before Ang Lee directed the Oscar-nominated film adaptation of Jane Austen's 1811 classic Sense and Sensibility in 1995, the Taiwanese filmmaker interwove the rhythms of family life and the role of food and its preparation throughout his critically acclaimed and commercially successful films. Full bio

Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink

Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink

On January 3, 1965, Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first Japanese-American woman and the first woman of color to be elected to the United States Congress. While representing Hawaii for nearly 20 years in Congress, Representative Patsy Takemoto Mink (born 1927) made great strides toward peace, women's rights, civil rights, equality, and justice. Full bio

 

Lisa See

Lisa See

Lisa See is a writer who has taken to heart the old advice to writers to write about the things that they know. Despite her red hair and freckles, See is Chinese American and a fifth generation inhabitant of Los Angeles.  Full bio

Har Gobind Khorana

Har Gobind Khorana

Har Gobind Khorana was an Indian organic chemist. His work in chemical genetics earned him: Merck Award of the Chemical Institute of Canada, Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize of Columbia University, and Nobel Prize. Full bio

Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth

Ladda Tammy Duckworth is a United States Senator from Illinois and former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. She was wounded in Iraq in 2004 during her service as a National Guard pilot. Despite the loss of both legs, she became one of the first Asian American women to serve as a senator. Full bio

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is an award winning actress, comedian, writer, and producer. Her family immigrated to the United States in 1979 from India. Kaling devised her stage name after discovering that emcees would have trouble pronouncing her last name, Chokalingam, and sometimes made jokes about it.  Full bio

Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku is considered the father of modern surfing. He developed skills that led to international fame as an Olympic champion, swimmer, and surfer. His grandfather was a Hawaiian high chief. Full bio

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

Lee Jun-fan, known professionally as Bruce Lee, was a Hong Kong-American actor, director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. He was the founder of the hybrid martial arts Jeet Kune Do. Lee was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-chuen. Full bio

Daniel K. Akaka

Daniel K. Akaka

While other politicians grandstand to win votes and impress colleagues, Senator Daniel K. Akaka has been a quiet presence in Congress. Keeping a low profile was one of his trademarks. But while the slight man with the salt-and-pepper hair quietly shunned the spotlight in Washington's beltway, he did not go unnoticed. Akaka was the first native Hawaiian ever to serve in the U.S. Senate. His political ambitions were simple: to preserve and bolster Hawaii's interests. Full bio

Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier

Monique Lhuillier's understated but luxurious bridal designs have earned her a devoted clientele since she launched her business in 1996. Her second line of eveningwear has also garnered accolades and an impressive roster of clients, including Angelina Jolie, Jessica Simpson, and Tyra Banks, but Lhuillier's best-known celebrity commission may be the dress she designed for pop star Britney Spears for her 2004 wedding to Kevin Federline. Full bio

Laurence Yep

Laurence Yep

The author of such award-winning novels as Dragonwings, Child of the Owl, and Dragon Steel, novelist and playwright Laurence Yep is noted for penning fiction that brings the history and culture of Chinese Americans into realistic view, exchanging the exaggerated, stereotyped images of Dr. Fu Manchu and Charley Chan for portraits of the real-life men and women who have enriched the United States with their labor and willingness to share their cultural heritage. Full bio

 

Daniel K. Inouye

Daniel K. Inouye

United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye was the first American of Japanese descent to serve in the Congress. A highly decorated war hero, he served as a representative of the state of Hawaii since it entered the union, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate, where he served since 1962. Full bio

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama was best known for her work as a civil rights activist. Kochiyama was friends with Malcom X and promoted equal rights for African Americans and women. Over the years, Kochiyama fought for civil rights, Puerto Rican independence, an end to the Vietnam War, and nuclear disarmament. Full bio

Asian Pacific Islander History/Heritage Books

Unbroken Thread
Begin Here
An Examination of Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT Populations Across the United States
Ayya's Accounts
The Columbia Guide to Asian American History

AMEMSA Films @ MiraCosta Library

Hollywood Chinese

Hollywood Chinese

Hollywood Chinese is a revelation on a little-known chapter of cinema: the Chinese in American feature films. From the first Chinese American film produced in 1916 to Ang Lee’s triumphant Brokeback Mountain nine decades later, Hollywood Chinese brings together a fascinating portrait of actors, directors, writers, and iconic images to show how the Chinese have been imagined in movies, and how filmmakers continue to navigate an industry that was often ignorant about race, but at times paradoxically receptive.

Journey of a Paper Son

Journey of a Paper Son

In "Journey of a Paper Son," an elderly Chinese man (Jack Ong), who's dying from cancer, shocks his family when he reveals that he's a "paper son" (one who illegally immigrated to the U.S., using fake documents and claiming he's the son of an American citizen) and asks them for a final wish to change back his name.

Inside the Chinese Closet

Island of Secret Memories

This documentary, directed by Loni Ding, is about Chinese immigrants detained at Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco.

The Samoan Heart

The Samoan Heart

The Samoan Heart follows two western-trained Samoan artists who embrace their heritage in their works. The Samoan Heart documents their personal journeys, struggles, and searches for self and the culture that sustains them. Part of the Pacific Diaries Series from Pacific Islanders in Communications.

Asian Americans - Season 1

Asian Americans - Season 1

This series traces the story of Asian Americans, spanning 150 years of immigration, racial politics, and cultural innovation. It is a timely look at the role that Asian Americans have played in defining who we are as a nation. In an era of U.S. expansion, new immigrants arrive from China, India, Japan, the Philippines, and beyond. Eventually barred by anti-Asian laws, they become America’s first “undocumented immigrants.”

Dances of Life

Dances of Life

The purpose of this film is to enhance our understanding of the cultural identity of the Pacific Islands, their civic life and their artistic achievement. Dances of Life examines dances from five island cultures: Maori, Samoan, Palauan, Chamorro (Guam), and Kanak (New Caledonia).

Skin Stories

Skin Stories

Featuring traditional tattooing ceremonies, interviews, and a collection of tattoo body art, Skin Stories traces the roots of tattoo, highlighting individual stories and the evolution of cultural traditions in the Pacific. Skin Stories is an anthology of stories and stunning images gathered from the hotspots of Pacific tattoo.